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Mental health nurses are uniquely skilled and vitally important. They work collaboratively with psychiatrists, GPs, psychologists and therapists to support a person’s recovery, helping patients have more involvement and control over their illness. Working as a mental health nurse is an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people with mental health difficulties.


Career Paths

Types of Mental Health Nursing

Below is a selection of varied fields you can specialise within mental health nursing.  Find out information on the specialism and what the role involves.  Remember if you are interested in any of the roles, make sure you attend one of our events where you can find out much more and hear from real people working in that career.  

Types of Mental Health Nurse

Adult Mental Health Nurse

Adult mental health nurses work in a range of settings but predominantly in hospitals on wards delivering care, treatment and support to patients who are suffering with a mental illness.

They may work on specialist wards such as dementia wards, psychiatric intensive care units or specialist units dealing with eating disorders.

You’ll work closely with other professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists and healthcare assistants. 

Register your interest in attending our next Medicine Calling event here.

Why choose Mental Health Nursing?

How to become a Mental Health Nurse?

To become a Mental Health Nurse, the main route is through a 3 or 4 year Mental Health Nursing degree course at university.


Typically, you’ll need a minimum of a grade 4/C or above in English language, maths and a science subject.  


Most nursing courses accept a range of post-16 qualifications including A-levels and BTECS, however they will often expect you to study at least one science or a health related subject area.


After you have finished your degree, you’ll register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and apply for one of the many varied roles within mental health nursing.


Good to know: there are other routes into mental health nursing. such as nurse degree apprenticeships and nursing associate apprenticeships, which you may want to explore further.

Curious about science and medicine?

Interested in what makes people tick?

Want to change people's lives for the better?

A career in psychiatric medicine could be for you!

Types of Mental Health Nurse

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Nurse

Child and adolescent mental health nurses work with young people until the age of eighteen. They will often work across a range of settings visiting young people’s homes and schools. They have a key role in providing support to young people who are experiencing problems with their emotions, behaviour and mental health.


They will also work closely with a child’s family as well as educating and supporting other professionals, such as teachers.

Types of Mental Health Nurse

Community Mental Health Nurse

Community mental health nurses work out in the community and try and prevent people from being admitted to hospital. They will be assigned patients and create care plans alongside a visiting schedule based on a patient’s needs.

They will work with patients in a range of settings including patient’s homes, clinics, day centres or voluntary organisations.

They will build meaningful and trusting relationships with the patients they visit, to support them with their recovery. This may involve encouraging a patient to take their medication, or advising them about social activities they can get involved with.

“Mental health nursing is a brilliant, complex and very rewarding career. There’s nothing quite like it when you see the real difference you can make to someone else’s life”

Maryam, Student Mental Health Nurse

“Mental health nursing is so varied, we see all sorts of mental illness. Sometimes it’s about using medications to help people recover, sometimes it’s just about talking, supporting and reassuring them”

Romeo, Mental Health Nurse

“There isn’t a typical day in my job, you never know who you might see and what they’re going to need and that’s what keeps the job so interesting, so challenging but also so rewarding. It keeps you on your toes!”

Jo, Mental Health Nurse

“The best thing about being a mental health nurse is meeting so many different people and having time to sit and talk to them, to find out about them”

Holly, Mental Health Nurse

Why we love our jobs...

Why we love our jobs...

A career in mental health nursing is one of the most fulfilling things you could ever do.

Mental Health Nursing

'The human brain is the most complex structure in the universe.'

Robin Murray Professor of Psychiatric Research at King's College London. 

A career in psychiatry.

A specialism that’s truly fascinating.

A role that's truly rewarding.

‘The human brain is the most complex thing in the universe'

Robin Murray Professor of Psychiatric Research at King's College London. 

A career in

A specialism that’s truly fascinating.  A role that's truly rewarding.


“It takes someone special to do this job. Nursing, providing care and changing people’s lives is the biggest privilege you will ever have.”

Emily, Mental Health Nurse

Types of Mental Health Nurse

Forensic Mental Health Nurse

Forensic mental health nurses work with patients who encounter the criminal justice system because of their mental illness or who become mentally unwell after they have committed a criminal offence. 

They may work in prisons, secure hospital settings, locked rehabilitation units or in police departments. For example, they may assess people who come into contact with the police and advise the police about whether they should be referred to mental health services, rather than being taken to prison or a police cell.

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